What are the animals in your home learning from each other?

LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER

Leaf, Sunshine, and Cuddles

Leaf, Sunshine, and Cuddles

The animals who live together in our house appear to be learning from each other. It’s a strange sight to behold.

As dogs tend to do, our cocker spaniel Leaf runs to the door when we comes home and he wags his tail with friendly excitement. Now, so does our little cat Cuddles. She scampers along behind Leaf. Her tail swishes. Uncatlike as it may be, she expresses her happiness at seeing us.

When he was about one year old, Leaf was abandoned at an animal shelter. We adopted him, and it’s been quite an adventure ever since. Even though he’s made his home with us for eight years now, he still has abandonment issues.

We leave the room or he wakes up and doesn’t see us; he howls. We leave the house; he howls even louder.

We adopted Cuddles as a kitten from the same animal shelter. She’s never gone through abandonment nor has she howled. But after years of watching and listening to Leaf, she’s added howling to her behavior.

It’s her version of a howl which is more like a yell. But the other day, after Allen left the house, Linda was surprised to hear Cuddles mark his departure with a long, drawn-out meow. We had a symphony of howling and yelling for about 30 seconds.

Early on after Leaf came home, he began watching Cuddles jump up on our bed at night to sleep with us. Guess who soon joined us on the bed? If she can do it; so can I!

What are the animals in your home learning from each other?

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Who is in charge of keeping you in balance when your life fills up with too many to-do list items?

Who tells you it is time to play?

The truth of the matter is – we are working too hard and putting in too many hours on the next books. But we have barometers in our home who tell us that. They are named Leaf, Cuddles, and Sunshine.

A Dog Named Leaf

A Dog Named Leaf

Cuddles

Cuddles

Sunshine

Sunshine

Leaf, our dog, brings his ball and drops it at our feed and tells us to throw it for him. Cuddles, the little cat, vocalizes with a scolding tone of voice. Sunshine, the bird, screeches more than usual but also sings his song if one of us spends quality time with him.  He is giving us positive reinforcement to play with him too.

Everybody joins in the chorus to let us know that it is time to rest, time to take a break, time to play.

Who is in charge of keeping you in balance when your life fills up with too many to-do list items?

How do you make special time for your pets?

MAKING SPECIAL TIME FOR YOUR PETS

Feeding, cleaning, exercising, grooming, caring for, playing with pets can sometimes seem like a full-time job, especially in multiple-pet families.

How do you find time for it all?

Cuddles

Cuddles

If you’re like us, you have to multitask, even with your pets. Exercising includes walking combined with playtime and throwing the ball for our cocker spaniel Leaf.

Annual vet appointments involve bringing both our cat Cuddles and Leaf to the veterinarian’s office at the same time. We found that sharing their distress with each other actually seems to help them cope better. Cuddles can scurry back into her carrying case and feel safe while Leaf is having his exam.

But one thing that each of our pets requires and deserves is at least a few minutes everyday of our undivided attention. Cuddles tends to like her quiet time while sitting on Linda’s lap in the morning. Linda has to work around the cat in order to write in her journal and do a contemplation. But the sound of Cuddles’s sweet purring adds a blissful dimension to the centered start of her day.

Sunshine

Sunshine

Leaf’s special time comes at night when we take turns rubbing his belly, while he sprawls out on the bed. First, he carefully paws Allen’s side of the bed as if preparing a nesting place. Then while Linda pats his head, he answers her question — How was your day? — with grunts, groans, and other vocalizations.

Leaf licks Allen’s cheeks for a while and then settles in the middle of the bed to sleep until Linda finishes reading and turns off the lights.

Cuddles curls up next to Linda’s side. The bird is covered in his cage, sleeping on his perch behind a spray of millet. And everyone drifts into sleep and dream.

How do you make special time for your pets?

What do you think about emotional-support animals?

EMOTIONAL-SUPPORT ANIMALS

The April 22, 2013 issue of TIME Magazine had a thought-provoking article about emotional-support animals (ESA), “Comfort Creatures: Support Animals Help Patients, but That Lizard May Be Against the Law.”

The National Service Animal Registry (NSAR) certifies service and emotional-support animals and has registered 7,000 of them since 1995. The NSAR certifies dogs, cats, pigs, birds, mice, rats, hedge hogs, iguanas, rabbits, and goats. These animals can then wear vests or patches and have ID cards to prove they are necessary to the people they serve.

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Mental health professionals can prescribe an animal’s companionship for patients to help them cope with emotional and psychological symptoms. But health departments can counteract the diagnosis with laws that restrict farm animals. Neighbors can and do report pet owners who they believe are keeping pets or traveling with them illegally.

According to the article there is a confusing gray area about what constitutes a service animal and who needs them. With physical disability, everyone can see why the person needs the animal. With emotional issues, the reasons for having a service animal may not be visible. “Complicating the issue further was the growing diversity of critters aiding people with physical disabilities: boa constrictors that warn their owners of oncoming seizures; capuchin monkeys that help quadriplegics eat and drink; parrots that verbally calm owners who suffer from bipolar disorder.”

Allen and Leaf

Allen and Leaf

The article doesn’t mention a further complication – people who make up their own vests and badges in order to self-certify a pet. Sometimes, this is due to the fact that someone with a disability is on a long waiting list to receive a professionally trained service animal or can’t afford to pay for one. Someone wrote to us that she couldn’t bear to be without her dog and had “faked” a vest that allowed the dog to go everywhere with her.

What do you think about emotional-support animals? Have you had an animal officially or informally who offered you so much emotional support that you had to have him or her with you everywhere?

SUNSHINE, THE COMPOSER

Sunshine whistles and sings to the world as his day begins each morning. Linda works to keep up with his whistle, but often Sunshine goes places with his whistles she is unable to imitate.

Sunshine

Sunshine

Now, with gusto he has begun performing each evening too. He starts out whistling three to five notes with surprising range, then works to achieve a theme, and uses it as a building block for an even more complex melody. At this point Linda is no longer able to keep up with him and stops whistling back. But she listens with admiration and fascination as he performs his improvisations.

Sunshine

Sunshine

Sunshine creates his own compositions based on nearly twenty years of mastering his repertoire. In a previous blog we wrote about him listening to LES MISERABLES one evening when we watched a DVD of the musical. He quickly learned the melody. The next morning, to our delight, he shared melodies from the musical.

Sunshine

Sunshine

Visit <http://www.angelanimals.net/nlimage126.html >to see images of Sunshine.

Has an animal surprised you with a gift or blessing that was exactly what would be best suited to bringing you joy?

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SUNSHINE AUDITIONS FOR A MUSICAL

Our little yellow cockatiel Sunshine has his home in the living room. Last weekend, we shared Sunshine’s space while stretching out on our living room sofas and watching the movie LES MISERABLES a couple of times. We love the classic songs and storylines in this movie that started out as musical theater.

Even though we covered his cage during the evening we viewed the movie,Sunshine must have been listening intently. Two days after our LES MISERABLES feast, Linda did her usual morning ritual. Before she started eating breakfast,she closed the door and put up a gate to keep our dog Leaf and cat Cuddles out of the living room. Then she brought out Sunshine from his cage and placed him on the living room mantel, where he likes to run back and forth between the windows on either side.

During his morning mantel time, Sunshine usually whistles and singstunes he’s sung for years. Occasionally he imitates a new whistled song Linda has offered to him and adds his own composed flourishes. Then the bird and Linda whistle back and forth to each other.

This morning, though, Sunshine sang melodies that sounded familiar but that Linda had never heard him whistle. After a moment, she recognized them. Sunshine was singing melodies from LES MISERABLES. He treated her to another way of enjoying a beautiful musical score and symphony.

Linda thanked Sunshine for his gift to her that day.

Visit http://www.angelanimals.net/nlimage107.html to view images of Sunshine.

Has an animal surprised you with a gift or blessing that was exactly whatwould be best suited to bringing you joy?

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network
http://www.angelanimals.net

*****

BOOKS by Allen and Linda Anderson:

Visit our wonderful publishers’ websites at http://www.newworldlibrary.com and http://www.lyonspress.com to see the wide array of animal books and outstanding authors published by these companies.

A Dog Named Leaf: The Hero from Heaven Who Saved My Life
Animals and the Kids Who Love Them
Dogs and the Women Who Love Them
Horses with a Mission
Angel Animals Angel Animals Book of Inspiration
Saying Goodbye to Your Angel Animals
Angel Dogs with a Mission
Angel Horses: Divine Messengers of Hope
Rescued: Saving Animals from Disaster
Rainbows & Bridges: An Animal Companion Memorial Kit
Angel Cats: Divine Messengers of Comfort
Angel Dogs: Divine Messengers of Love
Angel Animals: Divine Messenger of Miracles
You Ought to Be in Pictures by Linda Anderson

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family
http://www.angelanimals.net

To subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week, send a blank message to
AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com

Writing about Leaf

Writing about Leaf

We are compiling letters, emails, and comments about Leaf for a special writing project. Since we adopted Leaf from the animal shelter on October 7, 2006, we have consistently written about him in the Angel Animals Story of the Week, on Facebook, and in our blogs.

Many of you have been part of his journey from the beginning. He entered as an abandoned, frightened dog, attempting to live in a home with two cats, a bird, and two humans who grieved over the death of their beloved yellow Lab, Taylor, only months earlier.

We’d love to hear from all of you who have followed Leaf through such things as dog park, doggie daycare, panic attacks, fear of strangers, animal communicators, learning to live with cats, being the first cocker spaniel to run for President, and growing into trust and love.

We’d also appreciate hearing from those of you who are just now tuning in. If you want to catch up, you can go to http://www.angelanimals.net and click on archived newsletters or go to Leaf’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/leafdogbookauthor and post your thoughts there. The name of the page is “Leaf, Spiritual Hero Dog.”

What are your impressions of Leaf? What are your thoughts about him and his journey? Please send letters to angelanimals@aol.com or even better, post your comments on Leaf’s Facebook page for everyone to read.

We would greatly appreciate hearing from you in regard to Leaf and how he might have helped you remember your own journeys with animals.

 

Allen and Linda Anderson

Angel Animals Network – Where Pets Are Family

http://www.angelanimals.net

To subscribe to the Angel Animals Story of the Week, send a blank message to AngelAnimals-on@mail-list.com